Teenage boy dies cliff-jumping at popular Duluth swimming spot

Another tragic accident happens at "The Deeps."

A popular cliff-jumping destination in Duluth has been the scene of a number of incidents in the past, and this weekend it claimed the life of a teenage boy.

At 5:22 p.m. Saturday, the Duluth Fire Department was notified of a boy who had jumped into the Lester River in an area known as, "The Deeps," a news release from the department says.

He had not resurfaced after jumping off a cliff, the release says. Rescuers from the fire department, Duluth Police, St. Louis County, the U.S. Coast Guard and Gold Cross Ambulance arrived and searched The Deeps all the way to the mouth of the river at Lake Superior.

The boy was found at 5:40, about two blocks downstream and was brought out of the water using ropes. Rescuers immediately began CPR and other live-saving measures.

He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead, WDIO says. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office has identified him as 15-year-old Will Schlotec of Duluth.

Recent heavy rains in the area made water conditions in Lester River dangerous, the fire department says. The river was running "very fast and high."

Danger at The Deeps

"The Deeps" is a known swimming spot for Duluth residents. There's a small waterfall along Amity Creek as it heads toward the Lester River, with the opportunity to jump off a 25-foot cliffside into the water.

Here's a video of a group diving off the cliff into the water (a YouTube search will pull up even more videos.)

It's a popular spot, but dangerous – which is why it's not a sanctioned swimming area.

Earlier this summer, a 22-year-old man was pulled from the water by friends after being knocked unconscious while jumping in, the Duluth News Tribune reported at the time, and in 2011, a 13-year-old boy was swept away by the current and drowned. 

Other incidents in recent years have involved people who hit rocks on the way down.

The spot isn't a recent discovery. Shorpy has a picture that's dated to 1904, showing a group of young naked boys taking a dip in "The Deeps" – note there is some nudity in the photo.

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